Scientists say that cells in a
mother's breast milk can be tested to check if the woman is at risk of developing
breast cancer. Certain cells in the breast milk contain genes which can be
linked to breast cancer. Thus testing these cells is a cheap, non-invasive and
simple way to predict the risk of breast cancer. The study was conducted by U.S.
researchers at the University of Massachusetts, in Amherst.
About 250 women were part of the study.
Milk samples were collected from these women. Also they underwent a biopsy to
check for breast cancer. To check out for early signs of breast cancer
scientists tested the DNA of the cells in the milk to see whether the genes had
been altered in any way. It was found that women whose biopsy report was
suggestive of cancer also showed signs of breast cancer in milk cells.
So far there has been no effective
way of screening young women for breast cancer because mammograms do not always
detect tumors in women who have not reached the menopause, particularly if the
women are breast feeding.